During the month of October Bill and I will be participating in the Ice Age Trail Alliance Mammoth Hike 40 Challenge, along with multitudes of others across the state. (And many from our Lodi Valley community.) You may recall that the Challenge is to hike 40 miles on the Ice Age Trail during the month of October in order to celebrate 40 years of the Ice Age Trail being designated as a National Scenic Trail.
Our Challenge began in Cross Plains, which is the home of the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Our first hike of the day was on the Valley View Segment, a beautiful section that took us through rolling hills, prairies, and forests. Late-blooming flowers provided bursts of color as did some trees on the surrounding hills. While walking the prairie we were treated to sweeping views of the countryside (see photo), including Blue Mounds out to the west.
From there it was on to the Crossroads Coffeehouse for some hot soup (much-needed on that cool day) and delicious baked goods. This business is generously donating 20% of sales during the month of October to the Ice Age Trail Alliance in celebration of the Mammoth Challenge and we thank them for that. After a quick stop at the Ice Age Trail Alliance office to say hello to our friends there it was off to do some more hiking.
Our afternoon found us on the Table Bluff Segment, which we haven’t been to in a while. This section was created in cooperation with a group of property owners called the Swamplovers, supporters of the Ice Age Trail who allow the Trail to cross their property. The segment traverses wonderful wooded areas and prairie and, once again, we found some beautiful blooming flowers. The birds were evidently enjoying this segment as well as we saw many of them flitting about as we walked. We returned to our car just ahead of a light rain.
And so begins a month of intentional hiking. I call it intentional because, while we love being out on the Trail, it seems that other things in life often keep us from getting out for a hike. Having the goal of hiking 40 miles for the Mammoth Hike 40 Challenge helps us make time for this activity that we both enjoy…..Along the Ice Age Trail.
P.S. I don’t like to end on a downer but wanted you to know that there have been quite a few “smash and grab” incidents recently, whereby some bad actors smash car windows and grab things from inside. This is happening at many trail parking areas, not just the Ice Age Trail, and seems to be going on across the state. Make sure to take any valuables with you (I’m even putting the garage door opener in my backpack) and, if you must leave something in the car, make sure it’s not visible.